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Ken Borland

Van Tonder has shown willingness to dare to be different … & nothing will change now 0

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Ken

Danie van Tonder has shown his willingness to dare to be different and his commitment to an aggressive approach, and he is not going to change any of that when he tees it up early on Wednesday morning at Huddle Park Golf Club in the first round of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded, the final event of the Rise Up Series he is currently leading.

Van Tonder, given the incredible consistency he has shown in finishing in the top-10 in his last 13 events, dating back a year, will be the favourite in a two-horse race to win the order of merit for the Sunshine Tour’s return-to-play series, with Darren Fichardt trailing the 29-year-old from Copperleaf by more than R37 000.

George Coetzee is third, but is away in Europe, and Ulrich van den Berg is fourth, but nearly R112 000 behind Van Tonder, with the winner of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded taking home R95 100.

“Nothing will change, I’m just carrying on with practising and working hard. I’ve played practice rounds at Huddle Park both yesterday [Monday] and today [Tuesday] and the greens are nice and soft and rolling nicely, so that will suit my aggressive style. I’m going to go flag-hunting, I can hit the ball right at the pin and not worry about it bouncing off the green.

“I don’t mind what anyone else is doing, it’s the same for everyone and I will still just go out there and go for fairways and greens and make as many birdies as I can. There are four par-fives and nine par-fours, so if I can shoot six or seven-under then that will be a good round. It’s quite a nice course because I can hit Driver everywhere,” Van Tonder told The Citizen on Tuesday.

There are many in the local game who see similarities between Van Tonder and Bryson de Chambeau, the U.S. Open champion who is threatening to change the entire sport in ferociously single-minded fashion. The South African, who jokingly points out that he is a couple of years older than De Chambeau so he must have copied him, shares the same stiff-armed swing and unflinchingly aggressive approach with the American.

“I’ve always been happy to do my own thing. My swing is not textbook, so I had a lot of people advising me against pro golf when I started out. As I got better the critics started saying things like, ‘How do you plan on making a living out of golf with a swing like that?’ But luckily I didn’t listen too much. Fortunately I have a little bit of the water-off-a-duck’s-back attitude.”

Given how savagely dominant he has been in the Rise Up Series, there is no need for Van Tonder to change anything. It may be cruel the way he is depriving all the other struggling pros a share of the big prizemoney at the moment, but they can hopefully lift their own games to provide fierce competition in this final event.

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